TREVOR WEEKS: Injured pigeon was found to have been shot

WRAS Rescuer Iain with the rescue Canada goose at Piltdown Pond SUS-161123-101421001

WRAS Rescuer Iain with the rescue Canada goose at Piltdown Pond SUS-161123-101421001

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We were horrified on Monday when we received a call to a grounded pigeon in Hailsham High Street.

Barely able to muster the strength to stand let alone get away, the pigeon was picked up and immediately it was clear he had a horrific wound under his wing. He was rushed to the casualty centre where Kathy, Katie and I examined him and immediately suspected he had been shot due to the compacted feathers pushed into the wound.

Sure enough as the plug of feathers was pulled out so was a large 8mm ball bearing, along with more damaged tissue and feather behind it. The pigeon was in good condition and good age before this happened, so it is very upsetting indeed to see him suffering in this way. Shooting animals or birds and leaving them sick and injured to die a long, lingering death is just plain cruelty and illegal. Due to how recent his injury was Sussex Police was informed. This is one of a number of shot birds we have had in from Hailsham. If anyone has any information on who is doing this please contact the police or us privately. If anyone witnessed the incident please contact Sussex Police by dialing 101 and quoting ref 0904 of 21st November 2016.

Another upsetting case was a juvenile gull rescued at Norman’s Bay. The poor bird has a huge fishing hook through the soft tissue at the corner of mouth. After working on the bird at our casualty centre the hook was safely removed. We have had a beautiful grebe admitted from West Rise Junior School in Eastbourne on Tuesday. He is being taken straight to the Swan Sanctuary by rescuer Tony for specialist care.

We are very low on newspapers and desperately need our supplies topping up! Any size newspapers but try to avoid the magazines that come with them if you can. If you have any, please bring them to our Casualty Centre, The Shaw Barn, A22, Whitesmith, BN8 6JD. We have two donation bins outside our reception at Unit 2. Rescuers have been all over East Sussex this week, from Hastings to Burgess Hill and everywhere in between. Rescuers Andrew and Charlotte dealt with a baby hedgehog out during the day, they have been to a crashed goose, looked for an injured swan in Eastbourne and released a sparrowhawk back to the wild. Kathy and I had our Sunday lunch interrupted after a poorly pigeon was found in Uckfield High Street.

We rushed down which is thought to have had a collision either with a vehicle or window. We gave emergency first aid before the pigeon was brought back to the Casualty Centre to be further assessed. Chris Tucker at Bexhill Wildlife Rescue dealt with a window strike owl for us in Sedlescombe. Luckily the owl was only stunned and flew off before capture. Rescuers also dealt with a cygnet crash landed in Linfield Road Eastbourne, a hedgehog and a partridge in Ringmer and a dove in Newhaven. At one point we had all our ambulances out on the road plus volunteer in their own vehicles all at the same time!

I was called out Saturday morning to deal with a collapsed fox in Uckfield’s Victoria Park Pleasure Ground. My first visit was unsuccessful in finding the fox. The finder was waiting for us but luckily local councillor Ian Smith spotted the fox and rang us for help and met us at the car park to show us direct to the casualty. The fox was in a very serious condition and was rushed to Henley House Vets where they were able to stop the fox from suffering further. Tony meanwhile rushed to Old Heathfield after a woodpigeon smashed through a window. Surprisingly the bird had no severe injuries apart from a graze to the head. The window definitely came off the worst! Katie was also busy with a hedgehog being delivered to the centre after being found early in the morning. Luckily nothing wrong other than just being way too small for hibernation. Rescuers Kathy, Iain and I visited Piltdown Pond to check on a Canadian goose with a damaged leg.

Kathy was able to encourage the goose away from the water’s edge where she was able to quickly catch the goose before Iain and I had finished screwing net heads on our rescue polls. A huge thank you to everyone who donated towards our thermal imaging cameras. After reports of a hoglet running around Eastbourne sports park, centre manager Chris Riddington thought he would just take a look on his way home. Using the new thermal imaging cameras he managed to spot the hoglet running through some undergrowth.

Thinking job done, Chris continued to play around with the camera on the way back to the van and when a small glow appeared, he quickly investigated. One became two hedgehogs. Both too small to hibernate and were quickly on their way to a nice dinner in Katie’s warm orphan room. These two would not of made it without kind donations from members of the public. Chris would have had no chance finding them otherwise. Donations will also help to pay for these guys to stay with us over the winter whilst they fatten up for spring. Thank you so much for all of your support! It really makes a difference, they only weigh 135 and 160g! A sparrowhawk has come into care after flying inside City Electrical Factors in Hawthorn Road Eastbourne. Flying around the bird was hitting the beams and glass windows. WRAS rescuer Tony Neads was able to catch the bird which has now been admitted to WRAS’s Casualty Centre for observation and because a blood on its head. We hope he will be a quick turn around and be back out in the wild shortly.